Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hey, that's a real story

This is particularly devoid of content: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8415377.stm

Some archaeologists have found a burial shroud. Nice work, but not the sort of thing the public at large is likely to be interested in. However, it was found in Jerusalem and dates from "The Time of Jesus!", which is presumably a technical term archaeologists use.

The Turin Shroud, on the other hand, does not date from The Land of J sorry The Time of Jesus. There are all sorts of stories about Jesus' shroud and countless other relics dating from the Middle Ages and many fake relics were constructed at that time. Not entirely surprisingly, radiocarbon dating puts the (Turin) shroud bang smack in the 13th-14th century.

The BBC isn't interested in this, of course. It would break the already bewilderingly tenuous 'link' between the Turin Shroud and this new find, which was already weaker than a kitten that has been off it's milk.

The BBC is anxious to point out that some people believe it's Jesus' shroud while others believe it isn't, which implies these beliefs are equally valid. They are not. One is based on nothing at all, one is based on actually dating and otherwise analysing the shroud, using techniques that are known to work to within known error tolerances.

This is the bit that galls me:

Tests 20 years ago dated the fabric to the Middle Ages, but believers say the cloth, which bears the imprint of a man's face, is an authentic image of Christ.

But? BUT? Surely this should read:

Tests 20 years ago dated the fabric to the Middle Ages and believers say the cloth, which bears the imprint of a man's face, is an authentic image of Christ.

There's no but. The fact that some people claim idiotic things about the shroud doesn't cast the least doubt on its properly established date using radiocarbon dating.

No...wait...it says there's an imprint of a man's face? It's suddenly an imprint? I would call it more of a....daub.

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